30/09/2021

๐Ÿ’ฟ๐Ÿ’ฟThe Angry Video Game Nerd 1&2 Deluxe Vinyl | Review | "An Expansive Triple Vinyl" ๐Ÿ’ฟ๐Ÿ’ฟ @blackscreenrec #VideoGameVinyl #Vinyl

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Having been a fan of The Angry Video Game Nerd for a good few years (I think the first video I ever saw was The Silver Surfer), I can remember when the games based on the series were first released  - in 2013 and 2016 respectively – and their addictive ‘dive in and out’ qualities combined with laser-focused platforming challenge and shining 8-bit audio work made such an impression on me that I leapt to cover the deluxe versions when they were released last year  (https://www.gamesfreezer.co.uk/search/label/AVGN%201%262%20Deluxe).

Both games in the series – though slightly different – are driven by almost chaotic energy of which the music is a huge part and they absolutely make sense as a vinyl release that will not only appeal to fans of the Angry Video Game Nerd but also to fans of chiptune music in general, as this is an album of full tracks that really stand on their own thanks to the musical chops of Sam Beddoes.

An expansive triple vinyl (the version I received is presented on clear vinyl), this collection covers the music from the two games that make up the AVGN game series. The triple-gatefold sleeve opens out to show the Nerd in a familiar pose - frowning at a TV in his basement whilst gaming, with a Rolling Rock on the seat next to him whilst surrounded by a myriad of characters introduced throughout the show’s run thus far.

The outer sleeve also features a cast of characters but this time, the Nerd is in his ‘Super Nerd’ form and posed for battle. The artwork is in a cartoonish format which mostly reflects the style used in between-level sequences in AVGN 2, the colourful presentation really does fit with that chaotic energy that the games themselves resonate with.

As with all records we’ve covered at GF so far, the pressings are perfect with no audio issues, good. The Angry Video Game Nerd 1 & 2 Deluxe album is packed with tunes and feature forty-seven tracks in total, which means there’s plenty of chiptune action to get hips deep into.

Opening up – well, it has to, really – with the AVGN theme, the scene is very much set for what follows - which is a barrage of tunes that are surprisingly evocative if you are familiar with the games. Some tracks brought very specific images to mind, some of which had my hands clenching an invisible controller and gritting my teeth as I recalled certain sections of levels that had me yearning for the next NES cartridge / continue post.

The music has nice moments of returning to previous themes, variations and melodies that give a sense of cohesion whilst also feeling fresh, this is especially true of the first disc – which covers all the music in the original AVGN game -  a shorter journey than the more expansive sequel. Although the music often reflects the high energy of the game, there are tracks that offer variety in dynamics and tempo, these forays into more bubbly, thoughtful sections break up the intensity of the more full-on moments which naturally become slightly more prevalent as each disc heads to the end, as the music is in mostly chronological order. 

During my listens to the records, it became more and more clear to me that, If the listener didn’t know that this music was all taken from one-game series, I can imagine that it would come across as a best-of from various retro 2D platformers created by the same musician. there are signature beats and sounds here but the quality is really high and I could easily have been led to believe that these are modern interpretations of classic 2D games that I’m not familiar with, as such a large majority of the tracks have class and character.

Kudos also needs to go to the mastering engineer as well, it’s easy for chiptune music to get a bit piercing or headache-inducing but there’s a lightness of touch to the mastering that reduces any sharpness or sense of aural fatigue whilst retaining clarity, weight and a fully-rounded sound that doesn’t seem weakened. I was also a fan of how the majority of the tracks on the album are written from the mentality of 8-bit style soundtrack creation wherein a single 60-90 second piece of music is looped a couple of times as opposed to being a 4-minute narrative-driven piece, this is all about the arcade action approach. In these scenarios, the music must be of such a quality that you don’t mind hearing the repetition, which is certainly the case here. In this regard, the addictive music reminded me of a recent game Cathedral – apart from the grating graveyard musical sequence in that game, THAT was a misstep).

As I’ve already mentioned, the first disc comprises all the music from the original game. The music from the second game, however (that takes up the remaining discs), feels richer and more layered than the preceding record. It’s not jarring but the second and third records really ramp up the party and open the aural palette somewhat.

Whereas it seems like the first disc could have possibly been replicated from NES hardware, the nuances and complexities in the soundtrack of the second entry would very much be out of the scope of any 8-bit console (yes, even you, Sega Master System)!

https://blackscreenrecords.com/products/avgn-1-2-deluxe-1-2-original-soundtrack-by-sam-beddoes?ref=DKckbeLXWw8-aj&variant=32871737884775

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